Ten questions for Google

Ten questions for Google

Summary: Google's secrecy is frustrating all of its constituents: here are ten questions for Google.

TOPICS: Google
Advertisers, competitors and Wall Street analysts are frustrated by Google's secrecy, according to the Chris Gaither piece, "The One Bit of Info Google Withholds: How It Works," in the latimes.com last week:

Although Google playfully reveals how much chicken and coffee its engineers consume every month, as it did during Google Press Day last year, the company won't disclose much potentially helpful information about its core business, such as how many search queries it returns, how many companies advertise through Google and whether ad prices are increasing or decreasing.

Google's unwillingness to disclose little more than the legally required basics of how it does what it does — and where it's headed — has left advertisers puzzled, partners confused, competitors nervous and investors frustrated. Even seasoned Wall Street analysts are left scratching their heads at precisely how Google posted $6.1 billion in revenue last year...

But pressure is mounting on Google to be more forthcoming. The very secrecy that helped the company vault to the top of the media-industry pyramid — its $112-billion market value is almost as much as those of Time Warner Inc. and Yahoo combined — could backfire if advertisers and technology partners begin to support its rivals.

To help Google be more forthcoming, here are ten questions for the Google Investor Conference Call scheduled for next Wednesday:

1) Do you do more to prevent click fraud in your AdSense operations than in your AdWords operations?

2) Will you agree to reimburse your advertisers in cash, rather than in Google AdWords credits, for payments they made to you for fraudulent clicks?

3) Will you make absolute data available to the public on the exact words and phrases the public is searching on at your properties, as well the number of times the words and phrases are searched on?

4) Rather than lobbying the U.S. legislature for non-intervention in your China operations, will you stop censoring Google.cn?

5) Will you amend your mission statement to accurately reflect your profit motives i.e., Google's mission is to organize the world's information and sell ads against that information…?

6) Will you agree to cease maintaining server records, for searches and Web sites visited, with the IP addresses and browsers associated with these actions, for searches that do not yield clicks on sponsored links?

7) Will you uphold the Better Business Bureau Code of Advertising  vs. a vs. transparency in AdWords solicitations?

8) Will you agree to operate under generally accepted standard business practices and provide prospective AdSense publishers with a meaningful, upfront commission schedule?

9) Will you uphold your "do no evil" slogan and, really, level the playing field for small businesses in AdWords pricing and bidding?

10) Will you agree to cease caching and repurposing Web pages, unless you obtain explicit permission from Web page owners to do so?

For details on how the ten questions for Google were formulated see:

Google Q & A: What questions do you want to ask Google?

Collaborative Google Q & A: Call for questions

More questions for Google: What do you want to ask Google?

Any other questions for Google? Join the conversation: "Talk Back" below to post your Google questions.

UPDATE "Talk Back" Contributed Question:

"What does Google intend to sell, aside from ads associated with searches?"

UPDATE II Reports on the Google Q & A, May 31:

"Google Speak for Google Investors"

"Google's View of the World's Advertising"

"Google Search Engine Marketing and the Power of Location, Location, Location"

Want to know more about Google? Read up on Google below:

Google Video Ads: Google hit, or miss?

Is Google at risk in search?

Google ousts Microsoft at government Web site

Google Base no category killer

The Google breakdown

Trusting Google

Google AdWords: The Web reality show

Google Co-op: New vehicle for selling AdWords?

Google v. Microsoft: Win for IE 7

Google's offline forays

Google and the "convicted monopolist"

The illusory Google Trends

Topic: Google

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  • angry and missing the point

    Some of these points seem incredibly naive and mis-guided. E.g. don't cache without permission - so you're not a big fan of the 'search' concept then? Google, by default, has to cache the data to provide results- or a summary.

    I'd ask google what the bigger picture was; where they see the world in five years... this kind of thing. If ye don't like adwords, ye do nay have to use it....
  • Learn about searching before critizing.

    If google didn't cache pages, and instead, only indexed them, then EVERY time a site appears in a search result, google would have to hit that site. Google does a lot of searches, and most of them return several hundred thousand hits, if not millions. Disabling google's automatic caching of sites would result in a DOS effect over the entire internet, assuming google didn't explode first.

    Google has accurately shown that they know what they're doing with all the cached data, and keeping it to themselves. If google's cache scares you, go use Yahoo or MSN, and hope that the government doesn't ask for their search records again.
  • The only important question is missing.

    What does Google intend to sell, aside from ads associated with searches?

    If that's the whole product line, then the stock will sink as people realize Google will suffer growing competition with no alternative.

    But then, the question is so important - and obvious - that someone will ask it. And then someone else will ask it. And then someone else.

    The Google executives will probably be grateful to turn to a question about their views on the Nature of evil.

    But if they go on for too long, expect someone to interrupt to ask What do you intend to sell(?).
    Anton Philidor
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